As the summer comes to a close, many college students are finding that their fall semester is looking a lot different than what they’re used to. Instead of moving on to campus and having classes as normal, many colleges have elected to begin their semesters at home and move in students later or have the fall be entirely online. This scenario means that it’s time for students to learn how to adapt to this new normal. If this sounds like you, here are some tips on how to make online class work for you.
Create a space
Pick a place in your house and make it your dedicated school space. Keep whatever you need for classes in that space, whether it be just your computer or other books and supplies. Having a dedicated space for studying and attending class can help you focus on work. Your space can be anywhere that helps you focus, but don’t choose a place that’s too comfortable or too distracting. As tempting as it might be to log into your 8 AM while in bed, keeping a “study” area separate from your “relaxation” area will help in the long run.
This one might seem a little obvious, but it can help more than you think. Similar to how tempting it is to take classes in bed, going to online lectures in your pajamas seems like a great idea, except when all that’s on your mind is going back to bed. By getting dressed and participating in your usual morning routine, you’ll trick your brain into feeling like it’s a regular school day, which will help you focus more.
Calendars and schedules
Get a planner, it will be your new best friend. Whether that’s a planner app like My Study Life, a paper planner, or even a physical wall calendar, a planner of some kind will help you remember when your classes are and when assignments are due. Taking classes from home can make it hard to keep track of assignments since you’re not in a “school environment”, but having a place where you can clearly see everything you need to do will keep you on track.
Even if you have a dedicated study space, taking online classes can lead to distractions via your phone or other websites. Combat this by placing your phone somewhere far away from your study space where you don’t see it and mute the phone so you can’t hear the buzzing of notification and be tempted to check it. For other websites that you might try to pop on to during your Zoom lecture, try using an app like Cold Turkey or Freedom to block those distracting websites.
Stay in contact with your professors
Keeping up communication during your online classes is more important than ever. Whether your teacher uses email or another platform to send out announcements, staying updated on the information they give is crucial. Setting notifications up for the platform will aid you in making sure you don’t miss out on that due date change for your big essay. This goes both ways, so don’t be afraid to contact your teacher via email if you’re struggling online.
Communicate with other students
With online classes, you don’t have the same easy access to your classmates that you might have with in-person classes. Counteract that by creating a group chat with some people from your class. It doesn’t have to be everyone (unless you really want to include everyone), but having a quick way to shoot off assignment questions, study together, or just discuss what happened in class is going to help everyone out.
Having classes online is something that takes a little adjusting to for both students and teachers. Many teachers have to rearrange their classes so they work in an online format, or they just have to learn a new platform that they’ve never had to use so extensively. Instead of getting annoyed when your professors mutes themselves again, take a deep breath and help them out. Teachers are people too, after all.
It can be so tempting to just mute yourself during class and listen to what others say, but that can lead to getting distracted and missing out on critical information. Instead, treat the online class like you’re in-person and participate in discussions. Even if you ask a question that might seem like it has an obvious answer, the act of participating will help you stay engaged during the entire online session since you are making an active effort to do so.